In music cataloging, two primary methods are used for assigning Cutter numbers for composers. Some libraries maintain a list of composer Cutter numbers and then assign the same number to a composer in all music classes, i.e., Yale University’s Composer Cutter List at www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/cutter. Other libraries, including the Library of Congress, do not assign fixed Cutter numbers to individual composers, and are only consistent within single music classifications (Smiraglia 2008). There are advantages and disadvantages to the use of fixed Cutter numbers. Catalogers tend to memorize the numbers for major composers. This saves time as catalogers do not have to check the shelflist to find the specific number for a composer within a music class. A disadvantage is that some Cutter numbers would tend to become long (over three digits) due to the need to allow for the possibility of numerous composers with similar names and to keep their Cutters consistent from class number to class number.

Publication Date

Fall 2008